And so ends the Sixers offseason of insignificant obsessions

Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:01 AM

This offseason has been an interesting one, for sure.

The Sixers kicked off the offseason by parting ways with their coach.  That wasn’t particularly shocking for a coach like Doug Collins, who frequently burns out or wears thin quickly, but it was the beginning of what would turn into a monumental culture shift.

The next shoe to drop was the decision not to bring back the general manager.  Again, not a huge shock.  When Tony DiLeo’s contract was not extended beyond the one year it had remaining on it, many assumed that DiLeo was hired in large part because he was willing to live within the confines of a coach who wanted as much control as possible.  When Collins left, DiLeo was the obvious next domino to fall.

Then they hired a new general manager, this fancy Excel guy who many knew little about.  After a month of silence, this new general manager traded away the franchise’s centerpiece, moving the one marketable commodity for a player with a knee injury who was already predicted to miss half the season.  Yeah, Noel could be the defensive anchor most coaches would salivate for, and gaining an lottery pick that could be in the lottery in next years draft was no small feat.  But these are rewards in the relatively distant future, and after the initial excitement of the change in direction wore off they provided little in the way of excitement for the masses.

After a false start on the coaching search, caused by an erroneous report on draft night that the Sixers had come to the decision to make Brett Brown their next head coach, a situation where the “what” turned out to be correct even if the “when” was ultimately wrong, more silence came.  And more silence.  Much more silence.  Now, with their franchise player gone, a general manager who won’t speak to the media, and no coach in sight, the masses got very restless.

And then, once the team owner also became the owner for the hated New Jersey Devils, all you-know-what broke loose.  The Sixers majority owner owning the Devils?  We’ll never support the Sixers!

It was the topic that wouldn’t die down.  Until it did.  Why?  Because it’s irrelevant.

Just like most of the talk this offseason has been.

That’s not to say that this offseason was irrelevant.  The team changed CEO, general manager, and the entire coaching staff, not to mention trading away the face of their franchise.  They rebuilt their foundation by hiring brand new architects in Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown.  Those architects removed the faulty foundation from which the previous house was built and cleared the way to have the flexibility to get the foundational pieces that they need.

There hasn’t been a more franchise-altering offseason in quite some time, honestly.

Yet, if you based your sports opinion solely on what was discussed on sports talk radio, you would assume that the Sixers horribly screwed up their coaching hire.  Not based on who they hired, as the decision to hire Brett Brown was lauded on draft night, but when they hired him.  As if in 3 years we’ll care whether Brown was hired in August rather than early July.

Just like we won’t care about how many sound bites Sam Hinkie provides to the media, a problem that was exacerbated because there wasn’t a coach in place to be the public face of the basketball side of the franchise.  That whole argument was one big series of self-serving silliness by members of the media who conflate making their own jobs easier with morality and competence.

Buying the Devils?  I understand the emotional reaction, but when you boil down the actual impact of the move, it has none.  Harris is a business man who makes business decisions.  His job, as owner of the Sixers, is to hire the right general manager and give him the resources that he needs to be successful.  Nothing that happened this offseason should change your confidence level in that.  In fact, this offseason the Sixers added resources in the form of an extra draft pick next in next years draft and a whole truck load of cap space to go along with an owner with unlimited pockets, one who has shown to be willing to eat a hefty contract in order to make the team better when he bankrolled the decision to amnesty Elton Brand.

I also understand the appeal to emotion at play with many radio hosts.  The way to make a name for yourself and build a brand isn’t necessarily to appeal to the center, the rational minded who want in-depth analysis.  It’s an appeal to the fantastic, to the overly dramatic, the ones who yell and scream the loudest.  There’s a reason Angelo Cataldi is on during the morning drive and Ray Didinger is not, despite the latter being the far better analyst and sports mind.

(Note: I’m mostly talking about the coverage of the team from sports talk radio, not from beat reporters or columnists, who I think have mostly been covering the relevant topics, and doing so well).

But this summer seemed worse than normal.  Maybe it’s because so much of relevance did happen this summer that to be talking about this nonsense bothers me.  Maybe it’s because in 3 years, if this plan works out, we’ll look at this summer as the turning point, a monumental shift in direction, and we’ll be talking about everything but what grabbed headlines this summer.

It’s not that I don’t understand the relative lack of enthusiasm for the team.  They’re going to be hard to watch this season, and you can only talk about the potential moves this team has for so long before you get sick of hearing about things that could potentially work out.  It’s not that I thought they should have been talked about more, it’s that I think what little air time they did get was more or less a waste of time, at best, and self-serving nonsense at worst.

But, Friday is media day, and the day after that the start of training camp.  In 12 days they’ll be playing basketball, albeit in an exhibition game in Spain.  That’s not to say that there will be a lot of Sixers talk in this town, and certainly not much more in the way of positivity around the club.  But at least we’ll be talking about basketball, and not the nonsense that filled the airwaves this summer.

Good riddance.


Derek Bodner

Derek Bodner is a credentialed reporter covering the Philadelphia 76ers independently for He is also a college basketball scout for, and an NBA contributor for The Ringer. Contact Information: / @DerekBodnerNBA

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  • CM

    Love the new site, big fan of your work!

    • Derek Bodner

      Thanks CM. Glad you found it.

  • marcus

    Hey Derek, congrats on the new site, sure it will be a hit.

    I think you are being a bit generous to the local columnists, their attitude towards Hinkie has been bush league. I predict that in 3 years time they will have ‘predicted all along that it was a great move and were merely echoing fan sentiment…’.

    • Derek Bodner

      Eh. I don’t necessarily have a beef with people who disagree with Hinkie’s approach. I disagree with their stance, but I understand their aversion to risk and viewing the downside and unorthodox nature of it. It’s more than nonsense that was made a big deal over the offseason that annoyed me.

  • Jholt1980

    Great article, couldn’t agree more. Glad to see you will still be writing about the Sixers post LB. Is a weekly sixers pod still in the works?

    • Derek Bodner

      Pod is definitely still on. Not weekly now, but will be once the season starts.

  • ojr107